Monday, October 29, 2012

so much to blog about... so little time...

There's too much to blog about right now, so I'll have to create a series of posts to blog about soon regarding:
- our parent / teacher conference
- Mercer riding his bike
- going apple picking
- halloween (coming up in a couple of days)

Now... a post about T-ball:

Todd coached Mercer + five other 3-5 year olds through their first season of organized baseball.  There was one child who was really hard to control (the youngest) and a couple of others who didn't really ever seem to "get it."  But - the other 3 (including Mercer) did seem to understand the sport and actually showed a lot of progress since the first practice and first game.  Actually, one of the coaches from the other teams pulled Todd aside to talk to him about Mercer's abilities towards the end of the season.

Mercer was an anxious ball player, was quick to field the ball from almost any position he was playing (except first base... he learned to stay put when he was on 1st), he was getting pretty good at throwing, and could hit some of the balls from the live pitches.  Sometimes he seemed a little over-anxious as he wanted to control the ball during each play - but as someone told us - this is better than him not being that interested in making the play.

This level of game was perfect in that no score was kept.  All of the kids got to bat each inning. They actually got the chance to hit balls pitched.  If they didn't make it after a certain # of pitches, they would then be able to hit off of the tee.   If they got out, they stayed on base / stayed in the game.  

Some of my favorite memories of the season:
- one of the kids during a game hit the ball, then ran to first.  he didn't stop, however.
- once all of the kids hit, the team runs all of the bases to clear the field.  this same kid was on 2nd base & upon urging by "coach Todd" to run to home -- the kid made a diagonal from 2nd to home plate. Actually - this was quite smart as it was the shortest distance there~
- early in the season, Todd made up a very important rule:  no tackling your team-mates!  The youngest kid asked "but what about tickling your team-mates?"  
- the last couple of games, one of the little boys kept calling me "Mrs Coach" when he had a question (I was usually in the dugout with the kids trying to keep order, doling out water, and getting them out onto the field when it was their turn to bat.)
- the kids were more interested in snacks after the game and other kids outside the fence.    
- each practice, Todd gave away baseball cards to motivate the boys + on game days, one of them got the game ball.  the kids were perhaps more excited about who would get the game ball than they were about snacks.
Todd was happy to see how excited Mercer was about baseball -- always wanting to practice at home.  Todd was always rewarded by the improvement he saw in all of the players since the beginning of the season.  It was a lot of work, but he said that he enjoyed coaching more than he thought he would. I actually really enjoyed watching Todd interact with the kids.  He did a great job commanding their attention while making learning baseball rules and techniques fun. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Beginning of fall in north Georgia

We snagged a deal on one of those group coupon websites to get BOGO tickets for a corn maze up in north Georgia.  This one is touted as the largest one in the state -- at 7 acres of corn field (and 3 miles of trails).  One thing that was interesting about this one:  they had 6 stations throughout the maze that you tried to get to and stamp your card to "prove" you were at all 6 stations.  I know we didn't cover all 3 miles of trails, but we did walk for awhile & get outdoors.
We ran into some kids that go to Mercer's daycare about mid-way through.  We were all close to the edge of the maze, so we all stepped out for a few minutes to converse with some cows that were as curious about us as we were of them.  The boys were enthralled with the udders hanging down, the cows drooling, and going to the bathroom!  It was hard to peel them away, but cool that they were so interested in the bovines!  (Isn't this gorgeous rolling farm land?!)

A couple of highlights of the walk through the maze include Mercer playing "corn cob soccer" and giving a yellow flower to the little sister of his daycare buddy.  

(He originally picked two flowers & gave them to me.  He then took one of them back & ran to the little girl to give one to her instead.  It was so cute!)  We learned that he also draws pictures for her at daycare and gives them to her too.  hmmmm.....

After we all made it out of the maze, we hung out for a little longer at the farm -- taking a short hay ride & watching Mercer burn a ton of energy in the hay bale jumping area.  Honestly, he had SO MUCH fun doing this -- and it was so great because it's so low-tech!  There are so many terrific shots that Todd took of Mercer playing in the hay bale jumping area... here are only a few of the photos.

We went to lunch afterwards.  We ate at a local burger join that had a walk-up window and an outdoor dining area.  It was a little chilly to sit outside, but it overlooked a neighboring horse farm, so of course we had to eat outdoors.

We decided to take a more scenic route home and try to find a letterbox that had high marks for beautiful scenery.  Hmmmm... a hike along a river with rapids... ruins... sounds like the perfect afternoon activity for us!  We literally may have driven over this bridge and looked over the edge as we passed and said "that's nice, a river." 
But - the letterbox prompted us to get out of our car / know that there are trails and a boardwalk along the edge of the river / and give us a little history about the place:  the ruins in the foreground were for an old logging road covered bridge.... that this part of the Amicalola River was coined as the "edge of the world" by kayakers who brave this class IV rapids because the river seems to literally drop off over this bank of rocks seen... and that there's a place that you can walk out to / sit on some large rocks in the middle of the rapids. 
Spending the day together as a family and being surrounded by the beautiful scenery all around was absolutely fantastic... we made great memories this day.

Monday, October 1, 2012

We went to the fair for the first time...

... and Mercer had a great time! 

The very first thing that Mercer wanted to do... go to the TALLEST ride:  the Ferris Wheel!

We rode it and scouted out what all was scattered across the park. Mercer was not afraid at all.  I wasn't afraid, per se, but he did wriggle around a bit when we were up in the air & I was afraid that there were no safety harnesses or seat belts in the carriage~

We wandered around for a bit & stumbled across the kids area - where he could tackle a bunch of rides on his own. He "flew," he rode a motorcycle, he rode on a catepillar.   The last one he wanted to tackle I didn't want him to do on his own:  the lady-bug tea-cups.  He wouldn't have been able to spin the car as much on his own (or known to have spin).  So - he and I took a ride on that as well & had a lot of fun doing so.

Not to worry:  Todd got in on some action too.  He & Mercer went "fishing" for a prize. (two little stuffed animals that M has slept with each night since - of course).

One of the things that Todd & I thought was kind of cool:  this obstacle course / series of climbs & ramps.  He worked his way to the top, then he was rewarded:  he got to go down a HUGE slide.  Mercer was grinning & clasping his hands the whole time he descended.

He said he would like to go back again.  (we did not have a doubt that he would)

Over the weekend, we also went to a Braves / Mets game.  It was the last regular season game & the last of a few games that we got to go to courtesy of my company tickets 14 rows behind home plate.  Perhaps because Mercer is a little older or because he's now playing ball -- he did a much better job this season of watching the game.  (Of course he did spend a bit of time running around in the kid's zone, but not as much as before.)  It's now football season and he has started watching a little bit (maybe 5 minutes -- as long as his attention span will allow -- of any game)

This coming weekend won't be as jam-packed, but I'm sure we'll do something fun.